Taekwondo Olympian

Topics: SportsTaekwondo

Professional leagues for women’s soccer have come and gone in the US. The WUSA and WPS respectively each only lasted three years. The current professional league, National Women’s Soccer League, only just celebrated the start of its sixth year. As professional women’s soccer leagues come and go, NCAA Division I college soccer remains the most competitive consistent league and the training ground for the United States Women’s National Soccer Team, since its inception in 1982.

Mental skill training in collegiate soccer is severely underutilized.

This is primarily due to the lack of funding for sports psychologists, time pressures and the lack of understanding of mental skill training techniques. This is the case even though the majority of sports psychologists deem mental training to be of equal, if not greater, importance than physical training.

With a high level of motor abilities and skills, you need a high level of self-confidence, concentration, the ability to withstand pressure, regardless of the condition of the competition.

In other words, the greatest weapon of elite athletes is their mental strength, which is achieved by mental training. (Kahrovic, Radenkovic, Mavric, Muric. 2014. p.52)

Kahrovic et al. suggest that if athletes competing at the highest level want to compete at their very best as often as possible, then mental skill training has to become a part of their training. In addition, decreasing performance-related anxiety by elevating self-confidence, concentration and changing the perception of pressure is essential.

In their case study Mental skills training for a Taekwondo Olympian (2016) Lim and O’Sullivan noted the following:

The larger and more important the competition, the more stress the athlete experiences.

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With all of these strains, an athlete may find it difficult to enter the flow state and thus, not be able to react to an opportunity and miss the timing of a critical technique. (Lim & O’Sullivan, 2016, p.235)

Lim and O’Sullivan are in agreement with Kahrovic et al. concerning how the environment can impact the athlete’s ability to perform. If the brain is not equipped to compete and respond positively to adversity, then the entire body will struggle to operate optimally. Sports psychologists most commonly identify self-talk, imagery, arousal regulation and goal setting as the core techniques for mental skill training. Self-talk (ST), in particular, has been widely researched by sports psychologists. Although there is much debate over the definition of ST, the most comprehensive classification, defined by Hardy, has five elements:

Self-talk should be defined as: (a) verbalizations or statements addressed to the self; (b) multidimensional in nature; (c) having interpretive elements association with the content of statements employed; (d) is somewhat dynamic; and (e) serving at least two functions; instructional and motivational, for the athlete. (Hardy, 2006, p. 84)

Self-talk training teaches athletes how to rationalize, self-motivate, perceive challenge and better find composure. Reducing distracted thoughts and increasing concentration are key goals of athletes practicing ST. NCAA Division 1 female student-athlete soccer players endure a minimum of twenty games in the competition season; competition typically occurs every three to four days.

The purpose of this study will be to gain an understanding of the impact of ST training and its ability to impact and reduce performance anxiety. Thus the hypothesis to be investigated will be: NCAA Division I female soccer players that practice self-talk experience reduced performance-related anxiety more so than NCAA Division I female soccer players that do not practice self-talk. ST is such an under-researched strategy that the study is also likely to shed light on the amount of performance anxiety that occurs in athletes. Reducing anxiety is a rare focus, during practice in the competition season. Athletes can apply ST techniques away from the practice field. Student-athletes can then maximize their ability to perform through ST outside twenty hours allowable coach contact time.

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Taekwondo Olympian. (2022, May 14). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/taekwondo-olympian/

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